tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN December 24, 2009 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
>> i am that minor part of who said represents. interestingly enough, the kind of things that are being talked about here have a real potential with the freight railroads. 21,000 miles of what we operate for amtrak across this country are on the freight railroads. when you talk about a shovel ready project, you have the ability, because the administration has got this exactly right in terms of high- speed rail. we have got a high-speed rail that is 200 miles an hour, maybe san francisco to l.a. or washington to new york, but you
also have high-speed rail that is 110 miles an hour or a higher level than what we can operate today on the freight railroads. to make that work on the freight railroads, the freight railroads have to have some capacity improvements. create has shovel ready projects, and we have a lot of opportunities with the states, the $8 billion being talked about, so that we can keep our passenger trains on time, because the administration again has it exactly right. you have to have a culture of riding trains to make the ultimate high speed rail work in this country and tie it together. further, the technologies that are available today to improve our fleets. ed might not like this, but i
will say it. electronically controlled pneumatic breaks, putting that on the entire fleet of freight railroads is going to improve safety. it will improve capacity and add lots of jobs. that is a policy question for the administration to think about. mark talked about the fresh energy management, which is a great addition for the future, but there are policy decisions that can be made that increase the jobs and increase the volume. >> there is no question that there are a lot of opportunities, long-term and short-term, for the industry writ large. it is part of the strategy that would -- to make sure the whole industry thrives through as large a market as possible.
we want to be sure we are focusing on the high-speed rail portion of it, because this does represent a generational opportunity. >> i represent that it these days the part of transportation. we would like to compete with joe and my friend ed here in terms of show already rail projects that could hit the ground in 120 days. -- shovel ready rail projects. we released a list of $3 billion in shovel ready rail projects, some of them passenger rail projects. we are ready to go this year to create real jobs, and i think there were about 30 states that said we are ready to put rail on
the table. what we would like to -- we would like to work with the white house and the u.s. department of transportation to think beyond the near-term, but also think of the future. with the manufacturing base here and the stakes partnering with amtrak to set specs, we want to achieve the real vision of the president, which is high speed rail with an american manufacturing base, building to a common spec. that is something i think we can start the discussion on here today. we have $3 billion in projects ready to go this year to create jobs and be out in the marketplace in the next months. looking to long term to achieve those energies savings, the efficiency and ridership you
will get with true high-speed rail, that is where we want to work with you, near-term practical, but long term visionary. >> we look forward to that partnership. we have time for a final question. >> i would be happy to make a statement, if not a question. there is a domestic passenger car industry in this country. built can testify to this better than i can. it may not be american car and foundry anymore, but there is a vibrant car building industry in this country, and they are all ready to participate in high- speed train sets. >> building on that point, the
fact that the gentleman earlier talked about the need for demand. we have to get away from this beast or famine, boom or bust, one order of approach that we have taken. certainly, thinking about how investments in commuter rail and other forms of urban rail, along with inner-city and high-speed rail, that is going to be very important. it takes a continuous stream of investment. it cannot be one of. we certainly stand ready to work with the administration, with the congress on ideas that would move us forward in that regard. we do not solve that problem, it will be very difficult to expand the market we already have. >> that is a recurring theme in all the discussions today. we need to get away from that
boom and bust cycle and get toward a more durable, more predictable and consistent demand side. clearly, high speed rail is going to be a big part of that. with that, let me thank the panelists. we appreciate your being here today. [applause] >> i want to thank the deputy secretary for hosting that first broader vision panel. we thought the second panel was really an opportunity to engage with you, the manufacturers. our next panel is entitled ago growing american manufacturing base and the 12 men of america's rail system." the administrator is a fifth
generation railroader, and he has pictures in his office to prove it. he comes with a great deal of experience and immense passion for everything we have been talking about here today. he also cares deeply about jobs for american workers and has served many senior roles at the united transportation union before joining the fra. please help me in welcoming in the administrator. [applause] >> i thought that was a very interesting beginning to what hopefully will develop into a broader discussion. before we start going further in this, this is more an opportunity for the manufacturers and the workers who do manufacturing here in the united states to have their opportunity to speak and present their thoughts. it is important, i know a lot of the ceo's from the manufacturing
manufacturers? >> again, i would like to thank you for coming out and participating in our event today, and i would encourage you to continue to reach out to us in helping us can t need to develop and realized president obama's vision for the coming decades. this panel will focus on this stakeholders who are actually fulfilling orders they will receive from state, looking to improve intercity passenger rail, and the development of new equipment. our panel consists of the president and ceo of ge transportation.
he began his career with mitsubishi bank in international and corporate finance. he joined ge in 1994 and has held senior management positions in consumer products, consumer and industrial, and motor divisions. in november 2009, fortune magazine recognized him as one of the most influential business leaders under the age of 40. in addition, we have the president of palace of the rail car, an executive officer -- president of kawasaki rail car. he joined kawasaki in april 1972 and has worked in the shipbuilding and aerospace division, where he became involved in the engineering of international space station projects. in 1994, he began working in the
rolling stock division and later became vice president in 2005. we also have the president and chief executive officer and member of the board of directors. he began his career adviset pfi. he was president of the at electromechanical group. we also have the international president of the international association of machinists and aerospace workers. he began as a journeyman tool and die maker in ohio. he is a member of these a council of the afl-cio and serves on the executive committee of the international metalworkers' federation that represents 20 million workers in
more than 100 companies. [applause] >> thank you to the d.o.t. for setting up this conference. i think it is important to start the discussion by getting a sense of the reality of what is that we face today. as we think about manufacturing and the base of manufacturing, we have to realize that when we look at today, there are more than 4000 locomotives. at the moment, freight traffic is down 20%. it has led to a depleted manufacturing base.
we have had layoffs at different facilities. one of the things that is clear is that as we look at 2009, it has been marked by steady decline and reduction in the supply base. i think this comes at a very good occasion, when we need to discuss what we do to maintain the manufacturing base, what we do to actually carry it forward. we can talk about high-speed rail, but we need to talk about getting high-speed rail and also maintain the infrastructure we have in place. it is a very good manufacturing base, but if we are not careful, it will actually go away. as we look at volumes, it makes it harder to invest. that is the other aspect where you have a conundrum. as freight traffic is down, we invest less, making it less
possible to have the products available. there needs to be a commitment from the industry and from the government towards consistently having an investment level of predictability. these big rocks and high points we have had in the past -- the big troughs and high points are important to consider. we need to define what high speed is. there is a high speed of 125 miles an hour or of 110 miles an hour. this is products and capabilities that are here today, they can maintain a manufacturing base that exist today. as we think about moving toward 200 miles per hour, i can say for ge, we are committed to getting there, but it is going to take time. it also requires an infrastructure investment. what we can do today is invest
in 112 miles an hour, which is already a step forward in reliability for passengers. as we look at moving forward, those investments from the suppliers in takes place as well. that commitment, we will evolve to 200 miles an hour and even above. we have to look it in context and think about what it will really take to make sure that a growth industry and secure jobs. a lot of this is about jobs. from the standpoint of erie, pa., where we are headquartered, it is about jobs and maintain them. to do that, we need to have the orders in place. the timing of the orders is important. there is a commitment toward laying out the aspects of infrastructure by the beginning of next year. that timing is critical, but also the way it is implemented
allows for it to be rolled out in the industry. if it is going to be a project for three years before we have a locomotive at the end of it, that is a lot of time to wait for that locomotive to be manufactured. we need to be able to start producing next year. that will require investments that allow locomotives that help the supply base as well. amtrak is a big part in this. amtrak is an operator that can be utilized today. they are a valuable, going concern. to give you a perspective of jobs, 50 amtrak locomotives account for 1900 jobs from a g e perspective. we think amtrak can play a role in helping to drive in the quick term the manufacturing base. the other aspect is standardization. we have said many times already, we cannot go about having five things here it, 10 things there, two things there.
standardization, commonality will help us invest in the future and have this as an ongoing concern from the menu specter of -- manufacturing perspective. we looking to thefra and the dot. and that it is important to get clarity on what are the buy america provisions? from a manufacturing perspective, we need to be transparent about what buy america means. a couple of words on the ge side, we are very committed to supporting the transportation industry and locomotives in particular. we are committed to high speed,
and as some of the magazine, we are one of the only manufacturers which is in the u.s. that actually signed an agreement with the ministry of rail with regards to technology transfer for high-speed. high-speed is in a number of years. there is a call for action in the manufacturing base that has to be done in the short term to make sure we are all still viable entities. thank you very much. [applause] >> that afternoon -- afternoon. i appreciate this opportunity to speak about our growing business
in the united states and president obama's vision for high-speed rail in america. [unintelligible] all kind of rail cars. we have served the u.s. rail car industry since 1979, almost 30 years, providing over 3000 railcars delivery today. we have two factories for rail car manufacturing in the united
states. one is in yonkers, new york and the other is in lincoln, nebraska. during the past 10 years, we have invested almost $100 million to build and expand our rail car in manufacturing facilities in the united states, especially the lincoln plant. we are very proud that our lincoln factory is the only real car factory in the united states with the capability of making rail cars from the ground up. that means from fabrication of sheet metal to final assembly
and testing of the rail cars. we build rail cars in the united states by and for the people of the united states so that the benefit can be realized for many years to come. this is a showcase factory for a domestic rail car manufacturing. i am very pleased to say that we welcome and invite you to come and see our lincoln factory. however, i would like to take this opportunity to explain the difficulties that the u.s. rail industry faces today. this industry faces significant
ups and downs did to the limited funding available from the federal and local government. as such, it has been difficult for the rail car industry, including both the rail car builders and equipment suppliers to maintain its work forces. what always bothered me is how to continuously get the jobs and maintain the workers in two companies. therefore, we are very excited with the american high-speed rail project.
american high-speed rail projects will be -- one is the inner-city high speed rail passenger cars, and the other is very high speed. i think these are projects of high-speed rail that will surely produce new or additional job creation and additional investments in facilities. the inner-city passenger rail car project will introduce short
term job creation and the creation of very, very high- speed rail car project will create -- will protect the jobs for the long term. i would like to introduce something of technology transfer. we have significant engineering and production technology including high-speed rail in japan at this time. through our participation in the united states rail markets and our building of rail car factories, we have established a way to instantly transfer
knowledge and technology from japan to the united states. or practices have been established -- by having the prototype car built in the same location where they are designed and engineered, we are able to expedite the testing process. then, all production cars including the parts and systems equipment are made in the united states, according to the drawings, specifications, created from the work performed
in japan. additionally, efforts to transfer the knowledge, we send our key u.s. staff and supervisors between the u.s. and japan. sometimes they enjoy japanese food. with our manufacturing facilities and our work processes here in the united states,kawasaki is here to stay, to support the development and growth of the american high- speed rail system, and we are always ready to roll. thank you very much. [applause]
>> a thank you for the opportunity to speak at this conference. i would like to start out by saying i firmly believe that the vision and high-speed rail in the united states can be a reality, but it will take a lot of work. in order to convince you on why i feel that way, i'd like to introduce you to the company webtech and how we view business. how we view business is not much different from the other manufacturers and suppliers that are here today. webtech started back in 1869 when george westinghouse invented the air brake, a technology that is still used today to stop trains.
today it is a global supplier. we have manufacturing operations in 16 different countries and sell products in 100 aircraft countries. we have 6000 employees. 60% of those are in the u.s. and 40% of those are union. one thing i prefer not to tell you is that 20% of our work force is laid off right now because of the sodality of the industry that we participated in. -- because of cyclicality. i believe we are the only public company that has stood by the transit market over the years. webtech is a financially strong company. during the last four years will increase revenues by 50% by focusing on our strategic initiatives, which are not much different than the other
manufacturing companies that are here. after market expansion, at with is really the key to what we are talking about today. we have always been a technology based company, and we continue to invest in new products. our focus has always been on the efficiency, productivity, and safety of the railroads, which is very important to all of us. we are one of the few companies in the world who can really move the needle in those areas. we owned 600 different domestic patents, 1500 around the world. we have 500 new patents over the last three years. we have an active pipeline of new technologies. there is a lot of buzz about positive train control. we had to invest over the last 10 years in positive train control in order to get to where we are at today without any funding whatsoever.
the railroads are faced with a very difficult task of being mandated to implement this over the next four or five years without any additional support at all. this is necessary for high-speed rail. positive train control in this country is different than in europe, were you have a system where you do not have blind territories that exist in the railroads today. let's move back to high-speed rail. high-speed rail is the next logical step for the u.s. real industry. there is a lot of talk about the concern that there is a drain of our talent pool in this area, that we do not have the manufacturing capacity. why is that? it's because the market did not ask for these products up to this point. that is why our focus has not been in that area. what we have really focused on
is the freight markets. today we have a freight system in this country that is the envy of the world. we stated time and time again during our presentations. wabtech is really focused on those technologies and investments that our customers ask for. if that demand evolves into greater emphasis on high-speed rail, all the suppliers here would focus on that. we are committed to making the investment necessary to make this a reality. as with the growth opportunity, i emphasize steady funding is mandatory. to be successful, the funding has to hit the people who are going to manufacture the product. how does this happen? i would like to do it simply.
it is simple, we have to get funding in the form of incentives are credits for product development. the second thing we have to do, which i think was hit on pretty heavily. we have to invest in the technology we have so we can reinvest in developing technology. it is no different than the pharmaceutical or any other industry. if you don't buy our products, we cannot reinvest. what is the end result? labor force, we can add it back to our ranks, which we need to do. i really appreciate the opportunity to speak to you. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much, and it is an honor to be here representing about 650,000
members of the international association of machinists and aerospace workers. our union was founded on railroads in 1888, may fit, in a hole in the ground in atlanta, georgia. it was the only place the bosses would let us find time to draw together. 19 men, tired of the conditions they labored under, came together and formed the machinists union. from that hole in the ground in a railroad pitt in atlanta, to when you see this space shuttle launch in you see the sparks fly that ignite the fuel. we have seen all the changes in america. we have seen what technology can bring, and i am here to tell you that we support this idea of high-speed rail. ron bloom was here, the
president's manufacturing czar. he said that rare roads point to the future. he was on the first one to say that. -- he said that railroads point to the future. abraham lincoln was the first one to say that. those were his words. that was 100 years ago, and we are still pointed toward the future. that is a complement to everyone in this room. whether you work in the industry, manage the industry, or use the industry. we have something that is uniquely american in the way we do it. we need to preserve and protect it. i came here as an invitee as everyone else did, willing to learn about what are the issues around this thing called high- speed rail. though we support it lock, stock, and barrel, and we are
partners to the industry in trying to achieve this thing of high-speed rail, under whatever description we want to give it. 110 miles an hour or 250 miles an hour, we are used to building things that go 86,000 miles an hour. we can do it if we put our minds to it, but we will not achieve it unless we do some other things that are necessary. this union that i represent has 5806 separate collective bargaining agreements. that is a lot of contracts with a lot of employers, some are represented in this room today. of that number, 2006 hundred 15 of them, or 45% of the total number of transportation -- transportation related collective bargaining links.
that goes from boeing and lockheed martin down to small mom-and-pop tool and die shop. they often are the roots of the good things we end up using as we come up the manufacturing chain. we cover transportation from air and rail to ships, cars, trucks, barges, whatever. we have an foundational understanding of just how important this industry is, because all others are serviced by rail in some shape or form. we want to see this industry take off again in a big way. in direct real companies, 233 companies under contract, and it covers the gamut of the industry, whether it's in the manufacturing side of the
equipment, or as it grows, to those 2615 contracts, where we make even the smallest component, even fasteners and rivets that are used on the sheet metal for the cars we built. they depend on this industry, a lot of jobs. that represents a lot of good paying jobs, where there is a collective bargaining agreement in place. if we are going to save this industry and promote it and commit to high-speed rail, what we have to do first is have a work force, along with the management team that understands the value of each other, and that we tackle it as partners to make sure we get the appropriate levels of government support, the appropriate levels of support in all the communities we will serve, that we find the customer base that will use this new product will bring to market and sustain it. eventually when we can walk away
from the big investment up front from the government, to launch it. this industry can be the contributor to society, not a taker. there is always ghana be a role for the government intervention. rules and regulations, we have to have those. unregulated, we know what happens. we know when you deregulate, what happened to the airline industry. how many of you flew in today to this meeting? that is what -- didn't use to be a lot more fun to fly? we know it was. we need efficient. we need it domestic. we needed innovative, and it involves everybody in this room.
i want to point out that we have proposals that to sustain what we are doing here, we have to do other things, such as improve education in this country for the kinds of folks we need to draw into the industry to support our engineering, management, labor, and everything about it. we have got to do something in america to ground an educational program that will support the companies in this room. we have to be partners in that. together, we have a stake in this. we are talking about our kids and the future in this issue. we need to take a look at the laws we have in this country that get in our way sometimes. all of you will not agree with what i have to say, but we have lived through it, and i think we might have the experience to support it. government procurement policies
need to be reviewed. for instance, how rail, even high-speed, plays into the defense of this country. on the movement of troops, the movement of services and material. if we are going to apply new technologies, we have to consider that an issuer that this becomes a domestic centric program. if we cannot produce it and take care of it and maintain it, and we have to rely on someone from outside -- we live in a world today where we know where our friends are. we have to think about this. you may not know it today, every four years our government produces the quadrennial defense review. the purpose for that is, since pearl harbor, and it is to ensure that we take a look at
ourselves and do we have the capability to ramp up to defend ourselves in times of need, to do the things we need to do for this country? six years ago, the quadrille defense review finally answered for the first time, no we do not any longer have the manufacturing capability to ramp up to meet the defense needs of this nation. one of the things they cited is the ability to move what we need to move in america to do those kinds of things. when i talk about again, this highlighting the importance of this project, i can talk about it from many different facets. it has to be made in america and manufactured in america. we need to strengthen the domestic content requirements. we need to narrow the exceptions upon which various government
agencies and our government itself can fall away from the domestic content. we need to modify the office of management and budget's regulations that narrowly define what manufactured goods are. as we talk about manufacturing, the structures we need for high- speed rail, we have to insure that there is a buy american provision, specifically to a high-speed rail. the u.s. export-import bank. we need to change our government's look at this, and maybe we need a new bank created, not for exports, but as a way to provide attention an incentive to domestic companies who want to build up and keep it here. the tax credits that go with
employment of american workers and the products they make. we always get shorted on this, at the congressional oversight on the u.s. economic development bank, and to ensure that american workers, american manufacturers get the difference they need and require to make this an american industry. i will point out that there are, as we come to this meeting today and talk about this industry and how important it is, that we hear other comments like helhowe boeing company does business. we have funded the development of great technology in the aircraft industry. we are producing airplanes may anaplastic -- made out of
plastic. that came from the taxpayers, and now boeing takes that and ships those jobs around the world, only to bring it back and sell it to the american customer and a foreign customer. if the taxpayer is going to make a sustained investment in an industry like high-speed rail, the taxpayer has a right to demand a return on the investment. the return on investment is measured in each and every job that gets attached to that industry. with that, ladies and gentlemen, i thank you for the opportunity to join you, and look forward to working with you. [applause] >> i want to apologize to tom for having him wrapped, but it is 10 minutes to 4, and we promised everybody that we would finish on time.
i want to ask the panel a few questions and then allow the other manufacturers in the room to answer in addition, if they so choose. then we will get into our final take away items. we have 10 minutes to get this done. one of the things that was proposed, talking about the old pcc cars, and i found it fascinating reading about how and 1929 they talked about standardizing the street cars for the nation. the result was astounding. it was determined to be the highest quality streetcar in history of america, and more than 6000 of them were built on a standardized basis in a 17- year period. i would like to ask the question now, one of the things we talked about through the passenger rail investment act is the standardization committee that amtrak, the state dot's and the manufacturers put together, a
common architecture for passenger rail equipment. what do you see as key steps in this process as it unfolds? >> standardization and clear rules of the game will be very important from the aspect of the safety requirements, the configuration requirements, what will be required from the operators and manufacturers. having that up front will avoid us from a standpoint of recreating it 10 times. that is where you actually provide the benefit of the standard approach. if we all go at it differently, even though it may look the same, it will lead to unproductive and unsustainable investments for the long term. just having five units running one way and five running another way. it will help us all from a
manufacturing perspective and from an operational perspective. >> given the history of 6000 units in 17 years, one of the things we heard today was the ebb and flow. in developing a common architecture, it helps smooth out the peaks and valleys in the securing of orders. >> i understand -- we manufacture high-speed trains, and this is all we do. in my experience, that would be an ideal world, where we have the same parts ordered over and over again. we never have built one train
that is the same as another. there are some commonalities, but for the elements for the components, there is always a new development. that is a challenge that needs to be changed, to go from standard equipment and very large orders to small orders. this is a main challenge. >> the comment i wanted to make was, looking at the transit side, not picking on the transit guys, but there are a lot of the silos in the transit industry. i spent most of my career in the business. each rail car is design new for that agency.
there is no real organizational way to consolidate those silos. the trains do not have to be different, but they have evolved that way over the years. we will be looking to do the kinds of things you guys are talking about. let's figure out a way to get the states, regions, and agencies to not recreate the silos on the transit side. >> i think it is an opportune time to talk about the section 305. amtrak has a leadership role on bringing a lot of these folks together, whether it be the state's are quite frankly, the manufacturers. we are talking about that right now in terms of having meetings, beginning probably in january, to talk about a lot of the things i have heard here. there needs to be less and flow.
i think you can have a little bit of both, what lorenzo was talking about. we haulier trains with his equipment, so it does not matter from a locomotive standpoint. there needs to be that kind of commonality. in our own trains, we do not have all the same kind of cars. there is opportunity for different kinds of equipment, but there needs to be a standard. i think you hit on the head, that the silos that are created on the transit side, not just in rail, but buses as well, made it very difficult on everybody to do the training they need to do to get the parts they need, should do the things to keep costs efficient. amtrak is the most efficient railroad in the united states.
85% of our above the real cost is covered at amtrak. that is very different than the transit industry. we are looking for an opportunity to work with the fra, with the states, with the manufacturers, to get as much common efforts under this 305 as we possibly can. >> i would just like to make one or two comments and add something at the end. with respect to standardize asian, i think we in the united states must also consider that we should not specify ourselves out of the world market. one of the ways of getting out of this evan flow situation we are in is if we could only export. there is no reason we could not export.
we are isolated in our specifications. not as much in freight, but definitely on the transit side. unless we are not cautious to either follow world trends. that is one of the ways of getting rid of the ups and downs of the market. it was a controversial issue, and secretary lahood mentioned it. if we want to be successful in north america as suppliers and manufacturers, we have to have a proper base to manufacture from. any serious manufacturer in the
united states has a decent base. we have spent hundreds of millions of dollars opening these manufacturing facilities, test tracks. you cannot just live this and put it in another state for five trains. that is not the way we will be successful. all the suppliers have a lot of capacity, the willingness to go into intermediate high speed. we can get the technology for very high speed, and we can transfer it to the united states in building here and become better suppliers. we must get rid of eds and lows -- ebbs and flows. even though we are a foreign company, all of our people are
local guys. we are americans. >> the secretary made it clear that we obviously have a commitment and responsibility to make sure there is a sustainable level of funding. what else do we need to be doing to make sure this initiative is a success? >> i don't think we need more manufacturing capacity at this point in the u.s. we alone have four factories in the u.s., and a lot of car builders here they can make a lot of products already. these plants currently today do not run at their capacity. summerlin at very low capacity. -- some are running at very low capacity.
it is about creating jobs now. if we want to create jobs now, we cannot wait three years to start to build high-speed trains. it will take time to bring the technology. we have the technology. we can do that. there are coach cars that can run at speeds of 125 miles an hour that we can do now in our factories. yes, we have to evolve to the high-speed rail, but in the meantime, there are products that already exist where we can bill them now. [unintelligible] we have to find ways to reduce that lead time and so these jobs can be created rapidly for americans.
>> i wanted to make an announcement. recently, the american public transportation association that represents the 50 state dot's and the states for passage real entered into a memorandum of understanding to see what we can do together to implement the president's high-speed rail initiative. we think this meeting that secretary lahood has called is a tremendous beginning, but as you can see, we have just begun to scratch the surface of what we in the public sector need to hear from you and the manufacturing sector, the business sector. what the three of us
organizations would like to offer is to organize a larger event in late january here in d.c. to invite the same people who are here in this room and other partners we would like to include. the railroads, the supply industry, transportation, trade, and other elements of organized labor, amtrak, and for working groups. it is clear to everyone in the room, we have just scratched the surface and the ideas we need to exchange, the strategies we need to formulate, because there are near term strategies that can create jobs and create opportunities for you to sell to the market, but long-term, we have a challenge from the president to make real his vision of high-speed rail.
manufacturer to invest when a lot of funding is not seen with the vagaries of amtrak funding that we have a vision today that a different environment will change that vision and not be as important? >> i think it comes that to the point that we have a responsibility to you to insure a sustainable, ongoing program. that is why these initial selections that we are going to make will affect the merit page. we are giving birth to a brand new program here. we have to ensure it has the sustainability that the interstate highway has had. we need to make certain that the first product that we select our those that are going to be successful so there continues to be the public's support and that political will to continue a sustainable stream of funding.
relative to the equipment purchases, through a bidding process, there will not be this political games being played. they can submit their bids to the construction or quit and. it will be a properly beening -- or equipment. it will be properly bidding process. i think that will wrap it up. there will be some here that will want to carry the dialogue offline. two hours was along an of to have the appropriate level of conversation. -- was not long enough to have an appropriate level of conversation. i appreciate the offer to call the parties together in a month or so. thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009]
>> improving education for minority and low-income students, including children defense fund founder. from a daylong conference hosted by bobby scott, this is just under an hour. >> we will begin. >> thank you for pulling this together. this very important. the naacp is the largest civil rights organization, celebrating 100 years of service. as we talk about our last century, there is still so much needs to be done before we can
say that all america is children's had access to free, high-quality education. race, ethnicity, family income or where they live have access to high-quality education. despite the equal protection clause of the u.s. constitution, the 1954 brown versus board of education decision, we talk about improving our schools. have a dramatic disparity in public education continues to plague our nation. the implications of the persistent achievement gap are detrimental to not only individual students but to families and communities and our entire nation. compared to whites, significant gaps for african american and spanish students are evident in virtually every measure of achievement for national assessment math and reading test scores, high school completion rates, college enrollment in college completion rates. an addition there is a wide variability across states in
educational investment and outcomes. while the integrity of some measurements of achievement gap such as standard i tests is questionable they do provide us without our children are staring in our current public-school system. according to the national assessment of educational progress in both math and reading african-american and hispanic children consistently score an average of almost 25 points lower than caucasian children on standardized test push at ages 9, 13 and 17. i school completion rates clearly demonstrate the existence of an achievement gap not only among racial minorities in our nation but also by gender perk almost 1-third of all high school students in united states fail to graduate with their peers. about 1.2 million every year. nationwide about 72% of girls but only 65% of boys and a graduate in class currently earn diplomas. a gender gap is far more pronounced among racial and ethnic minorities.
specifically an average of 59% of african-american girls and 48% of african-american boys earn a high school diploma. among hispanics the graduation rate is among 56% for girls and 49% for boys. the impact of this phenomenon on our community is nothing short of catastrophic. as it perpetuates the size of poverty that we all fight so hard to try to end. high school dropouts are almost twice as likely as their counterparts with high school diplomas to be unemployed and unemployment is a chronic problem as well. high school dropouts to find employment they are much more likely to work at on skilled jobs that offer little opportunity for a port mobility, promotion or stability. the median earnings of high school dropouts remains between $20,000 and $30,000 throughout their lives with little increase as they get older. we talk about the challenges of one generation providing for another generation because we are locked into this income gap.
the fact that dropouts are concentrated in african-american communities means that this price is amplified in our communities. three quarters of prison inmates are dropouts as are 60% of federal inmates. of all african-american dropouts in the early 3052% have been in prison at some point in their lives. for the more statistics show that high school dropouts are more likely to be on public assistance programs such as welfare and students to complete high school diplomas. research shows that each struck out over his lifetime costs the nation about $260,000. other indicators of the achievement keep is the college in rome. while the percentage of american college students who are minorities has been increasing we are still woefully underrepresented. while 33% of all african americans aged 18 to 24 enrolled in college in 2007 that number
can be compared to 43% of caucasian americans. the bottom line is that an achievement gap exists and we can and must do much better for our children and for our society. as such for starters the naacp supports several legislative initiative aimed at closing the gap. these include h.r. 1569 s 618 the every student counts act which will bring meaningful accountability to america's high schools by requiring a consistent and accurate calculation of graduation rates across all 50 states to ensure compatibility and transparency. under the every student counteract graduation rates and test scores are treated equally. more over the every student counts act which require high schools to have an aggressive attainable and uniform annual growth requirement. this will insure consistent increases in graduation rates for all students by meeting him annual research based benchmarks
with long-term goals of reaching a 90% graduation rate. this would also require the segregation of graduation data by some groups to make certain that schools are held accountable for increasing graduation rate of all students and require the student activities focus on closing the achievement gap. h.r. 2451 is a helpful in addressing this concern. the students bill of rights would require it to provide equitable education opportunities for students in state and public schools specifically this legislation would hold states accountable for providing students with access to fundamental educational opportunity. finally, i want to make sure that every child has an opportunity to fully participate. we recognize disparity in our schools and the challenges are far beyond what we can do politically and what we can do public policy wise. there are some fences that have to be based on our ability to capture and move forward on changes in behavior that are helpful to promulgate these
changes. one of the issues the naacp works are on is to try to make the issue of addressing families and students concerns are around investment and getting the greatest equal to that of athletic. we have the axle program that moves in that direction. if we can get more parents to come out and be more helpful in a broad approach to these problems and bring an interest an emphasis on the issues of success in the classroom as we do on the basketball court or football field. we are convinced that with these resources, a new attitude and new approach we can make changes needed in our society. and closing the achievement gap. thank you very much. >> thank you. jeffrey robinson? >> thank you congressman scott. there is an achievement gap. everybody here knows it. you have heard the statistics. i will throw a couple more at
you. 48% of african-american students and only 17% of white students scored below basic on the national assessment progress. the test gap worsened as children grow older. whenever our preparation failures are, the longer our children are in school be further behind they get. that is a school problem. this achievement gap is defined it nearly as test scores and other things. it is really only a part of the fundamental failure of our schools to educate our children. they don't achieve. they don't graduate. only 55% of african-american students graduate from high school on time with a regular diploma compared to 78% of white students. our students are nearly three times likely to be suspended, 3.5 times likely to be expelled and this racial disparity puts them on a pipeline straight to
prison. our schools are not educating our children and we all know if we don't educate our children the can't survive in this world. today i am going to focus on just a small part of this fundamental failure. i am going to talk a lot today about the failure of our schools to educate minority students who are in interior, racially isolated, high poverty schools. there are way too many of our children who are in those schools and we have not done the things necessary to educate them. 50 plus years after brown -- and we have talked a lot about brown today -- but 50 plus years after it, our public schools are more racially segregated than at any time in the past numb for decades. nearly 40% of african american students attend schools where 90% or more of the student body is non-white. then candidate, now president obama, got it right when he said
segregated schools were and are inferior schools. let's be clear. schools are not inferior because they are majority and minority. we can all point to excellent examples of sc many african american students are in an inferior schools. that is the problem we have to address. it is not a black children in bad schools. is that we keep putting black children into bed schools. if we are not cognizant of that, if we do not admit and acknowledge it, and make our public policy solutions address that idea, we will never succeed for -- 60. why are the schools inferior? they are high poverty schools. more than 60% of arrogant -- african-americans attend schools
where there a low poverty levels. there is limited access to community resources special learning and development. it is very difficult for predominately minority is to recruit and retain high-quality teachers. we have all heard high-quality teachers are the key to a good education burda high minority, a high poverty schools cannot get in keep effective teachers. public schools in california, with a 90% minority enrollment, are six times as likely as white schools to have high teacher turnover. in high schools where 75% of the students are low income, there are three times as many uncertified and out of field english and science teachers
three times as many teachers who do not have the certification to be to be a critical subjects. teaching those critical subjects that they are being asked to teach. the data suggest that this doesn't just isn't a problem in the schools but there's a racial bias element that we have to end knowledge. it is much more difficult for schools even when you account for income factors, it's much more difficult for high minority schools to keep and retain quality teachers. there's a study that suggests it require a 25% to 33% salary boost to get the same effective teachers in the minority -- high minority schools as are in other schools. there's an element there we have to acknowledge that is not just about the faculty of the poor
schools, but there is race playing a role and we have to be aware of that. we have to deal with it. most of the majority of schools don't have the advance placement and other classes that are necessary. critically, they often lack a connection to the community that enables them to get the kind of resources they need to address these. it's other people's kids -- schools and so our larger communities don't care about them. and we have to address that and we have to be aware of that. my time is coming to an end. there is much too much i can say about what the problems are and where these gaps are. i want to talk just a little bit on the next panel and talk about some of the things that we need to do.
we heard early bert supreme court and parents involved in other cases making it more difficult to deal with the racial isolation. but there is still remedies out there. there are things that can be done. and there are five of the supreme court justices at the time recognize that addressing the association with racial isolation is a compelling interest. there is still room to go there. federal educational policy, there are things we can be doing. congress should are more aggressive in targeting funding to improve the inferior racially isolated high poverty schools. federal legislation should also provide resources to encourage integrated schools. charter schools which have much to offer but they can also contribute to racial and economic segregation and, therefore, it's crucial that the growing charter school movement not be exempt from obligations to provide racial and economic
integration. i join with many of the other colleagues that i think most of the lawyers who have been here to say addressing the lack of a private right of action in schools is a critical factor. the government can be pushed to do lots of things. we hopefully have a government that will be pushed to do lots of things today. but it can't do everything. and without the power as we have seen in employment and other places where there are private rights of action, that private right, parents who care about their children being able to go out and address the disparities are critical. finally, we have to recognize that schools are parts of communities. we have to deal with the issues in our communities, housing, employment, criminal justice system, a range of issues. but we can't let the fact that we have to deal with those issues keep us from dealing with schools because they're on the
table now. that's where our children are. and we have a moral obligation to do something about it. thank you, congressman. >> thank you. >> david goldberg? >> thank you. you are always a champion of a wide array of issues. pleasure and the predicament of being on a panel where hilary and jeff already told you most of what i know. so rather than kind of abuse with you more of them, i'll limit myself to systemic issues. and put it in the context of health care reform since that's what everybody's paying attention to right now. just a couple of statistics. if you look at health care, for
example, prenatal afghanistahea. african-americans are likely to get very little or late pre-natal care. that gets worse in cities in washington, d.c. the disparity is about 3.5%. excuse me, three and a half times. that leads directly to low birth weight babies and, obviously, you know, all the research shows that lack of access to health care going back to prenatal care means worse childhood health. if you have worse health, you're not going to be in school. you're not going to do as well in school. and that leads to the statistics that hilary and jeff were just giving you. so the question is, you know -- and thn you get sort of the next step is if you're not graduating, you're not going o get a good job with good health care benefits. the cycle is going to begin again. when you take that to a whole community, you get the poverty
that jeff was just talking about. so that is not an excuse for failing schools. cycles can be broken. and we see it in every community and every city that has a failing system of schools, you see some exceptional schools where students really are excelling. so the question is what can the federal government do? what can it do in health care? what can it do in all areas? so if the health care system is failing and it's failing children, then there ought to be health care in schools and health clinics in schools. and when we see things like vision screening in schools, you know, it's been done in massachusetts, and you find that low-income kids, minority kids are less likely to have vision care. they can't see. if you can't read the blackboard, you can't perform in school. you can't learn. we see children growing up hungary.
we n hungry. we need nutritious food that isn't loaded with sugar and empty calories which, again, research shows, you know, if kids are having, you know if, kids have bad nutrition, you know and the sugar levels go up and down, they don't perform in schools. and it's absolutely clear research has shown this. children do not have the social and academic supports that exist in more affluent communities. we need out of school time programs. we need after school and summer programs. and, again, will tl are examples everywhere of where it's working you know here in d.c. we have the higher achievement program which has just exceptional track record of getting middle school kids through not just through middle school but getting them through high school and into college. essentially 100% of them when they get rigorous after school and summer programs that eliminate sort of the regression that happens during the summer.
you get -- you get performance that goes through to college graduation. no child left behind is a crucial starting point. we need to desegregate the data people are talking about. we need it in every civil rights area. it's the only way. it didn't solve the problems. we need the sea next time to do more to provide more solutions to provide not just more financial solutions that we just heard about but human capital that will work as well. so why do we need the federal government to lead this process? because we can't trust anybody else to do it. just like we couldn't on every other civil rights issue where we need the federal government to step in not just with brown on education but wrefr else. voting rights act which we just reauthorized. so, you know, the federal government can handle these problems to some extent.
you know, you've got -- we've identified the 2000 drop out factories as they were called. you know, we've identified the feeder schools. you can see, you know, there are markers as early as sixth grade if kids fail a math class. if they fail an english class if, they're not attending school, they're not going to graduate from high school. the rate spikes. you get as low as 20% graduation rates for minority kids who have failed a math and english class. so i'll conclude by going back to systemic issues. you know, the federal government can push states to equalize financial resources, to equalize human capital. they're supposed to do it under the law now. they're not doing it. there are way that's some of those loopholes can be changed. federal government can do it and, again, has to do it because nobody else will. >> thank you.
>> thank you very much. my pleasure to be here today. with organizations and leaders that really been pioneers in the civil rights movement, you all have led with grit and real grace. i know we've seen challenging times in the past. but i think now we are in an opportunity like we've had never before where we have the tools at our disposal. we have the civic and public will clearly we have the problems articulated. it is hugely important, congressman scott, that you're conducting these meetings. i thank you for being here, congresswoman christianson. we look forward to working together. so you've heard a lot about the data today. we talked about the size of the
achievement gap when it comes to performance on reading and math. it exists throughout every level of the system. we've talked a lot about the graduation rate gaps. we talked a little bit about discipline policies. taken together, the problem is stark. but what gives rise to the achievement gap is not the socioeconomic status of someone's parents and it's not their color of their skin. it's the opportunity gaps that in our public education system we provide students that need the most with less of everything that research says makes a difference. this department of education is committed to doing something serious about that. as we think about brown and its legacy certainly is here in this room, the pervasive patterns of inequality of opportunity were really at the heart of the original violation in brown. certainly it was separate.
but it was unequal. and we now have some unprecedent tools to do something about it. that's not to say, john, that we're not touching segregation. right? i get it. you do, too. but there are tools that we have at our disposal now like the old desegregation orders that we have resurged. we believe that in those communities that are still with undischarged obligations of desegregation agreement if, those students have the force of law behind them and that they are entitled to as much as they were if it was a court ordered mandate.
there was a white flight charter school set to open in a district that was about 45% white. the district had about 35% african-american students. the school had few of them. under the auspices of this old desegregation order written in 1971, the office for civil rights was able to go in, work with local officials and some amazing things are happening in that area. coffee my friend david is said to me a note. -- my friend david just shoved me a note. we have some tools. faugh we are looking at this. we are reviewing pictures.
i can count to 5. i see hope. it is not the law of the bed anymore that you can use race as a sole factor when determining student and faculty assignments. you can use race under more authority [unintelligible] we talked a lot about action. you have heard some compelling story sphere about the need -- compelling stories about the need for right of action. there is none. the federal agency enforcement became the sole responsibility to the federal agency. the only way it can be tested
and measured is through the federal government now. what happened in the future we do not know. we take this as a sacred trust. this responsibility as a sacred trust. i'm sorry, congressman. that we are looking into all of the things that we know matter most, those things that are constitute benefits and services under title six. where even seemingly neutral policies and practices combine together to create a discriminatory impact. we will study. we will expeditiously resolve complaints. we will launch appropriate compliance reviews. we will use our technical assistance function. we will use our outreach function so that recipients know their responsibilities so that parents know their rights.
and so that everyone knows their obligations. we recently received a complaint that looked at all of these factors, everything from zpard d dp dispaired policies to ineffective teaching. the kind of theories and analysis that we are incorporate in studying those complaints feels novel to lots of folks. but i can't tell you enough the kind of sense of urgency that we feel that, this administration feels, the responsibility that we know we have to have to use the civil rights laws to vigorously enforce and protect students from discrimination whether intentional or otherwise. this is about data collection. congressman scott has been very helpful in the civil rights data collection where we're now getting data about the discipline. we're getting data about referrals to law enforcement. we're getting data about
teachers. we're getting data about access to college preparatory curriculum. we need to understand what happens to students as they journey from prekinder gart tone college and beyond and the civil rights data collection is a very important place to start. it's also about an unprecedented amount of money by this president and this bipartisan congress. i'm sure you've heard about the race to the top fund, $5 billion, $4.35 billion. senator round hugely important areas of human reform, capital, data systems, struggling schools, those schools in the bottom of the country and moving towards real career and college ready standards and assessments. it's also about $210 million that we're proposing for what we call promise neighborhoods. those communities if we can have 20 of them around the country that build off the great work from the harlem children's zone
so that we can use wraparound services, get at the health issues, use schools as the center of community as we work to reform what happens to students as they journey again from birth all the way through career. it's no longer history onics to say that at chiefment gap the a a health issue. there is data that shows that college graduates will live five years longer than their noncollege graduate piers. that children of families without a high school education are in far worse health than children from families in the middle class. we know this is economic and economic imperative in this global and interconnected global marketplace. we're talking about the new mckenzie report that shows anywhere from 312 to over $515 billion we would have more in
gdp if we were to close the achievement gap. this is a demographic imperative by 2023, over half of young people in this country will be minority. and certainly for everyone in this room, i know, it's a moral imperative. the least of which is disparity impact at our disposal to push and move this agenda. the truth is we cannot do it alone at the department of education. we need the congress. more than that, we need a social movement. i sit on this perch at a time when both the president and secretary of education have said this is the most important civil rights issue of our time. yet, we look around and it doesn't look like one. so that i hope together we will continue to make the movement, push for the social change that this country has always risen to
the challenge to meet. and continue to work with the pioneers to take it to the next level. mary? >> thank you very much. and our final panelist for this panel is mary edelman. you don't need much of an introduction. she is the founder and president of the children's defense fund and is the -- which is the nation's strongest voice for children and families over the years. mary, thank you very much for honoring us with your presence. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for having us. thank you for your leadership. you're the only person in the world who got me over here today. but thank you. i mean when you call, i come. and i just appreciate your leadership. you probably already heard all the facts you need to hear. my staff did a quick summary of the data. we know the problem in many ways. we'll submit that for the
record. everybody here knows it. i'm sorry i missed everybody. i want to just make three or four very basic points. i used to be a civil rights lawyer. and the children's defense fund is an outgrowth of that civil rights experience in mississippi with the naacp legal defense fund. and it was pretty clear and n. 1966, '67, '68 that when i won a deseg indication g desegregation case and the next day my plaintiffs didn't have anything to eat because they were moving over from commodities to food stam nz, didn't have any health care. you couldn't say i won my case. you had to deal with the substantive rights. people have to have a job. they have to have food. they have to have a place to live. they have to have health care. they have to have a place to leave children when they go to work. so that was the origin of the children's defense fund in mississippi to move to that next bridge of making the civil and political rights real, by putting the food and the jobs and the housing and the childcare and the after school care and the quality of what they get in schools in place.
so that is the context. and so i want to make two or three very basic points. all of which you know and are working for, mr. chair, is there needs to be and russell has already made the basic point that, you know, there is an opportunity in the achievement gap. you know that. we know so much of what happens is -- stems from -- it's devastating for children. we don't have a level playing field. our job is to get that level playing field which is the core of what america says it wants to be and it's central to your work and our work to eliminate what i believe is an american apartheid. we need to look at our legislative context as a way of providing a continuum of care for every child from before birth until they can make it through to successful transition to adulthood. people do not come in pieces. they come in families and families need to be able to deal with their children's needs in a
wholistic way. so looking at the whole child and trying to do in policy what we do in parenting for those of us that try to be good parents, this is what we should try to put as the norm for those children whose parents cannot afford it or who have not been tout to do what their children need. and so the kind of legislative priorities that you're paying attention to, you've been the leader on childcare and child health care of this year, prenatal care, trying to get this country in 2009 to write all the children prenatal care and health care. i thank you for your leadership and the amendment to make sure that all the children get the same benefits. we're going to keep fighting until it gets to a final bill. but we've got to come into the civilized nations in this country and ensuring that first children are not born with five, six, seven strikes against them. but you know all these statistics. how do you get a system of comprehensive, affordable,
accessible health care for every child before birth snt low birth weight babies, they never, ever get on the track to success or get a chance to go on to college. they're being tracked to deadened lives and prison before birth. question change that this year. i thank you for your leadership and administration and every member of congress needs to say whatever we do in health reform we're going to make sure the children don't go backwards at the moment. we're struggling to keep millions of children from being worse than better off. a health care system for every child and every pregnant mother. we're the only wealthy industrialized nation that doesn't provide. that secondly, making sure they all had an early childhood education. i started this with home visiting while you're in the womb and make sure do you home visiting for the at risk mothers and babies and keep them out of foster care. keep them out of the child welfare system. let's fund the home visiting programs. keep that money in the budget. and then make sure every child gets a quality early childhood education from early head start
to childcare to universal pre-k to universal k, kindergarten. and, again, high quality available to all so that they can get ready for school. i know this administration really is going to try to do. that and then you have to make sure you have every school ready for every child. there are high expectations and people that don't expect every child to learn. we're going to look at the re-authorization next year. i hope it will be a newly named bill. whatever you are going to call it, esa but no longer no child he left behind. making sure that we're building an educational accountability with adequate funding. and making sure that supports are there and we're rewarding success rather than failure. i just hope that the opportunity to lead and with the new bills coming up this is a chance to revolutionize our approach to education. and we're going to close out education and opportunity gap in our schools. there is a silly argument that
whether it's schools ought to do their job for children or the community and poverty all and all this. the children's school lesson is 20% of their day. as we try to make sure that every school does its job with high expectations and accountable educators that we also make sure the children are safe after school, in the summer, on saturdays. that we don't have learning laws and again the administration has got it. you have to deal with who the whole child. we need to fund before and after school programs and in the summer. is that my red light already? i'm not so short as i thought i would be. we have to deal with child poverty and jobs. poverty really still drives an awful lot as does race. but, again, it's the solution is carrying adults and every institution that relates to children. and for too many children, too many abults, children are beside the point. and we adults need to get out of
our s our silohs and we need a new paradigm. we need a paradigm of prevention and early intervention rather than -- forget about the business of getting that through the congress. i can't thank you enough for your leadership. we have to change the fiscal incentives. i would just like to mention a few of the things coming up quickly in the congress legislatively which are not the civil rights things that i'm sure the experts talked about. but what a chance we've got. you have the juvenile justice and prevention act. i hope we keep children separate from adults. that's a thing we've been fighting. 35 years ago we did children and adult jails. you have to fight these things every few years. you have to make sure you deal with minority confinement. you just have to stop the feeder system. we should all be looking at that carefully. you have the fostering in
success education act coming up. you have the stop abuse and residential program for teens act of 2009. and i just, you know, that's fantastic. and you have the student aid and responsibility act which includes a billion dollars in early morning challenge money which it will be so important to have. and you've got family tax relief act. and so we all need to get it all together and monitoring these proposals as well as esea and the childcare development block grant, the child nutrition act re-authorizati re-authorization. and we need to be putting that in the context of work and work support that's are high quality. as you've been seeing, you know, the test of welfare reform is what you will see that they are well funded the --.
we will have a work force on the people that are administering the policies. we adults have to provide that movement. it is the movement that follows its products -- follows it. we need that campaign today. i thank you very much for doing this. a look forward to working with he. >> thank you very much. >> given our panelists a round of applause a -- give our panelists a round of applause. we will entertain those.
>> [inaudible] i am curious about the reference [unintelligible] again and again to excellent examples of schools that work and, yet, i was appreciative of assistant secretary reference to the harlem children zone. i worked in new york in two different schools. one school that was very successful educating minority students and one school that is now phased out, closed. and the closed school is right in the neck of the woods of children zone and i'm wondering whether there's any efforts that you know about to take these excellent schools and go right in the neighborhoods where they're at. you know, right down the street from harlem children's zone. look up the street to the south bronx and say, hey, here's a school that is really failing. instead of just closing it, maybe we can partner with the success that's going on right
here locally. because those kids in wh that school closes, where are they going to go? i'm curious about whether that's been explored. i heard a lot about the promise cities and the efforts around the country. i wonder even within a district like new york city, are the efforts to take examples and breed them within themselves locally? >> let me start by suggesting that you talk to the gentleman right behind you. richard coleman is with the achievable dream program with newport news who have children come to school i think it was 98% on free introduced lunch. overwhelming minority. and there is no achievement gap at that school. the secretary of education visited about two or three weeks ago and so we're hoping that the secretary will incorporate some of what we're doing in newport
news at the achievable dream program in some of the policies that we're going to be adopting. any other -- >> i just want to make the distinction. i think that's why we're having the discussion. harlem children's zone which i think is fantastic and jeff chairs my board is not a policy. it's a program. and 22 or 23 promise zones is not a job policy or education policy make. that's why this hearing is so important and the issue is how do we incorporate the wonderful best practices all around for all children and policy and bear those in line as we construct the next version of legislation. we should not put so much of a burden, you know, they need jobs. they need a transportation policy. get out where the jobs are. they need the things we're discussing here today. people are over, you know, we grab on to one thing as the
solution. but we really need to make sure. 20 new promise neighborhoods which i think is fantastic, does not change the country. it just shows and demonstrates what we all know, churn can learn if they're adults with high expectations and well funded. you expect them to do that. this hearing is even more important. how do you incorporate that into the policy and all the things are coming up, the opportunity for all schools to build on the variety of wonderful practices going on all over this country. but all children need them. bobby? >> congressman scott, if i could just -- and i'm glad you're going on to the next panel. i will have to leave around quarter after 4:00. i don't want to hold you up. thanks to all the panelists. i did happen to read about the schools in newport news. and they were -- the report cited what was happening. they were very promising. but what i really want to talk about is how it's all coming together and it's not schools over here and health care and this other siloh.
we have come to understand in dealing with health care and the cdc in general that we have to look at all of the social determinants of health. and when we look at congressman scott's promise act and we look at our health empowerment zones and the promise neighborhoods, they're all trying to get to the same thing. we have to do all the community work. we have to help support our families if we're going to really achieve. and lastly, i'm a board member of adolescent health alliance. and health and education is so closely tied together. and we talk about losing our children and that junior high school area i hope that at some point will be able to pay better attention to adolescent health. >> thank you, i agree with you.
we have to get them to college. but we have to keep them in college. we don't spend enough time on college retension. but just getting successful delta. >> kimberly, i know you're happy to hear. that we're trying to get trio programs funded for the purpose of keeping -- getting young people to get into college to actually graduate. they're young rate of those that get in and don't complete has become a challenge. access to college is one. and we're doing okay on that. finishing college is the new challenge. yes, ma'am? [ inaudible question ] >> my question, a lot of the administration's focus in education is looking at closing down schools that have not been good for decades. and the kids talked about this through this easy issue, no big deal like you go in. the school hasn't been teaching kids forever. what's the problem? shut it down. send them somewhere else.
i'm wondering if can you speak to this issue, especially within the context of communities that will very invested in their local school. even if that school hasn't been serving them as well. you have multiple generations and people have gone to the school. they may not have graduated. they know the teachers, they know the principal. they know all grownups in the building. and the data tells thus school is not what's right for these kids. built we ha but we have to consider more than just the data with special kids. >> yes, liz, you bring up a really good point. the struggle is what is the answer. and persistently failing schools that for decades in a lot of places have utterly failed those students need dramatic change. they need transformation. closing the school and reopening it with the same kids or sending kids to another place is but one
option. right? there are others that work. we have evidence tied to the previous question. we have evidence about the models that work. when it comes to the community investment in those schools that is something we have to be sympathetic to and respectful of. we at the department have hired a director of community outreach who is actually in this room to begin to communicate with communities, especially on those that are doing dramatic turn around strategies. we know that this is about bridging those sometimes pretty damaging divides between communities and schools. we also developed a technical -- are developing a technical presentation within the office for civil rights there are real civil rights issues and considerationsment. we know less than 104 complaints, many of which came from school closing in washington around five different schools. we have to have the tough conversation amongst ourselves
and as advocates. we recently had a discussion about the school closures in washington. we said what is the civil rights violation? right? is it the sting that comes from the beginning of dramatic transformation. or is it the fact that these students have languished in schools that woefully prepare them for the demands of life after high school? and i think we all came to a place that said it's a little bit of both, but we're going to work to collaborate to inform the community to make sure that they know their obligation ands to show real models for what works. because as mary said, a few pilots can't do it alone. but seeing certainly is believing. and if we can show what's possible, we believe that we can move the dial pretty aggressively. >> just to add to that, i'm sure you know that your boss has a
bill that we support very well that gives us some inequities in school funding and school resources. forcing the state to actually make sure they provide an equal education opportunity for all students across the state. some states, new york is one example, used more openly. in one end of the state they're spending $11,000 a year to educate children and the other end, $4,600 to educate a child. we also know there were mistakes made here even in the nation's capitol as to whether to consolidate more schools. we saw the issues that should be taken into consideration from our perspective were not. and that is which schools are actually worth it and which schools are we actually cutting because we're trying to save money along the way? we're seeing the problems occur in many areas across the country as well. we also have to address issues about the collapse and the interconnectedness of how we pay for schools. only 10% of school expenditures
are paid for by the federal government. 90% is paid for by state and locals. what that means is when we're talk bgs hing about how we pay them, the states focus in as well. we have states that make sure it is the task underbedded to pay for the schools by a grid. that is in the certain areas we decide how much to spend on each child in a polley gridded area based on the property values. we continue the cycle we're in now. it speaks to interconnectedness. we scrap resources to pay for schools. we have to address those real problems. >> i could just make one last comment? i just wish we could get as bron in the building rather than the closing of the building. any system that fails to teach children to kpult, 80% of black
and hispanic children are not reading and not writing is not working. that's because adults are not holding ourselves accountable for seeing that children have a chance to succeed. any child that cannot read or write in this globalizing world is being sentenced to dead end lives. and that's what our adult responsibility is changing. so we've come in and they closed down the building. we slu have been in there raising heck for all these children who are not getting what they are supposed to getment i just hope that community voice can get there. it's not a fight between job security for adults who are building for adults. it's about weather we're educating our children. that's where the community voice really needs to be heard. >> congressman, if i can say one last thing. these are manageable transformations. there are 2,000 high schools in the country that produce 50% of the drop youz. over 75% of the tropouts from african and latino communities. if we can target our energies in
those places. and with a laser focus bring the community in collaborative, local, state thors together to produce the change we're talking about. the transformation and scale that we're looking for, the models that work comes to light. >> one of the problems with no child left behind is the -- after you've taken all the tests, what is the response to the tests? there's no farmer's adage you don't fatten a pig by weighing the pichlgt we've taken the test and the response to school is failing to have let children go to that school who can figure out what the system is, sneak out the back door and go somewhere where they can get an education. or in more drastic sense, close the school. if you have most of the children left behind at the school that
didn't figure out how to sneak out the back door and go somewhere else, they're getting the same poor education they were getting to begin with. a lot of schools have fail nertz back already. there is nowhere to go. you do not just take the test and know it is failing with no improvement. other questions? >> c-span, christmas day, and look ahead to 2010 politics. fellow astronauts on a legacy of apollo 11, a discussion of the role of muslims in the world. a former intelligence officer on
u.s. strategy against al qaeda in afghanistan. remembering the lives of william s. buckley jr.. >> up next on c-span, the ceo of sesame workshops on keeping sesame street relevant to children after 40 years on the air. this is about an hour. >> good afternoon. welcome to the lunch impetus i am president -- welcome to the lunch. i and the president. where the world's leading professional organization for journalists. we are committed to a future of journalism. we foster a free press worldwide. for more in formation, please visit our web site greta: .
jerry szerimski, past president of the national press club. dr. wilson of the school for communication in journalism at the university of southern california, and chairman of the board for the corporation for public broadcasting. cheryl hampton, director of recruiting at national public radio. patricia harrison, president and ceo of the corporation for public broadcasting. skipping over the podium, angela from bloomberg news and its share of the national press club speaker committee -- speaker's committee. an investigative reporter for bloomberg news, and the member that organized today's lunch. thank you, allison. . kroger, -- paula korger, president and ceo.
the senior associate for the [unintelligible] and finally, max, the associate producer of the -- a producer for the associated press. [applause] most of you are already familiar with our long-term france, big bird, oscar the grouch, and grover from the childhood staples sesame street. those furry and feathery fellows have been coming into our homes and sesame street debut. behind all of our muppet compatriots, chief executive -- it produces sesame street. the public television's favorite is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. sesame workshop's mission is to create innovative, engaging, and
educational content for everybody. the offer games and entertainment on cell phones and mobile video games. they have also brought into the global mission, including groundbreaking productions in south africa, india, northern ireland, and egypt. they also founded the 24 hour cable channel in the united states. they will or into the show over the next two years towards lessons. in the past, muppets have taken on issues such as childhood obesity, a military deployment, and economic insecurity. sesame street's characters generate a major market for toys. they entered into a 10-year
deal with hasbro inc.. elmo, cookie monster, and grover -- for the last 10 years, another company that had the rights to those characters will have to look elsewhere. he was managing director of media international, a multimedia publishing company based in bangkok. asia, inc., asisa tim -- asia times, and several trade publications. he was counsel to the u.s. senate judiciary and government affairs committee and worked in the california state legislature.
he will discuss the challenges of using new and ever changing media to keep sesame street in step with today's and children. please join me in welcoming gary knell. [applause] >> thank you very much, donna. it is an honor to be here. how to start by welcoming everyone and wishing you a happy holiday. today's todd has been brought to you by the letter n and the no. 6, 6 lessons of like to discuss with you today. >> i have dresses down here. anybody want dresses? >> what are you doing here? >> i want to show off my line of dresses of course.
i think i have your size. >> i don't think so. >> i have a fetching soak a number with an empire waist if your interested. >> i can assure you i am not interested. >> what about a spicy little cocktail dress with a letter provocative -- >> what makes you think any of these people want to hear any of this right now? >> is this not the national dress club? >> is the national press club. >> some nobody is interested? [laughter] >> i don't think so, grover. i am in the middle of a speech. >> i love speeches. perhaps i can help you. is it about the industrial
revolution? >> not about the industrial revolution. >> good, because i don't know anything about the industrial revolution. is it a speech about getting better abs in 30 days? >> no. that is too bad. as you can see, i know a lot about rock hard abs. check out my one-pec. go ahead. >> it is really nice. but it has nothing to do with what i am talking about, the way that new technology is able to teach kids. >> teaching kids using new technology? this is your lucky day. i know a lot about new technology. >> are you sure? >> do you see that edge right there?
i cut right through it. because i am on the cutting edge of new technologies. >> ok. i didn't know that. >> it is true. i can help teach the children of the world using my new technology, using iphone apps. >> that is terrific. there are a lot that can teach kids -- >> not apps. i am talking about the iphone naps. simply, you just take a nap with your iphone there next to your head, and all the information will import into your sleepy brain. >> i don't think that that --
>> it will lower -- work like gangbusters. it is for the children. come on. >> let's move on, grover. >> tweets. >> ok, twitter. >> no, tweets. have you ever heard an american goldfinch say tweet, tweet? she is tweeting the theory of quantum mechanics. but if you do not speak bird, you probably didn't get it. >> we should probably move on. there are great thinkers in the audience.
>> where? are you sure is this group? >> absolutely. >> maybe they can help me set up my wifi. >> not now. >> you have the speech to do. if anybody needs me, use the blueberries. >> blackberries? >> no, blueberries are my favorite tree. so long. [applause] >> you think you have a tough job. i have to demonstrate the party time in front of audiences. i wanted to acknowledge a couple of people, my good friend pat harrison and pull from pbs.
-- paul from pbs. you can blame him if you hear anything you don't like. there are lessons to take away that i think we should think about. the show started in 1960's. there were political assassinations. out of that came things like head start, where there was really no organization for pre-k programs. pbs and npr came out of this. all important things are decided in manhattan.
there is a foundation executive that got together and thought about television teaching our kids. it is a question of what is the teaching? maybe incident teaching gimbals about sugar, sweet, and cereal. or beefaroni, i can still sing the jingle from my childhood, we can teach letters and numbers. we can prepare them for school and build a culture of learning. they got together the harvard graduate school of education, a bunch of tv producers that know nothing about education. they show up with a green sock
puppet that they thought was a member of the underground. his name was jim henson. they threw them all in a room, and that can sesame street. it was rejected by cbs, abc, nbc, and even pbs at first. it was so out of the box and revolutionary that it was even barred in mississippi because it showed an integrated cast that was getting along. it was the first show that had hispanics and african-americans and asian-americans and tall yellow canaries all living on the street together in harmony. this was really revolutionary television. today, 40 years later, we have more enemies than any show in television history. we have expanded to 140
countries around the world. we just launched our fortieth season on pbs. a remarkable partnership that is now in its fifth decade. we have been able to teach generations of children growing up to be parents themselves through the muppets and sesame street. we have been able to connect parents and kids around to learning. that is why we put things on a show like the environmental segment, and desperate house plants. and this year, a spoof on mad men, juxtaposed against sad men, happy men, and angry men. and my friend, the head of nasa that was doing experiments with
worms going up into space. we have got to get slimy the world of the next mission -- the worm on the next mission. tony bennett sank slime me to the moon -- slimy to the moon. it is all about using media to get children to reach their highest potential. and maybe to create something out of the media that was hugely criticized. and our founders saw possibilities where it was other than looking at the negative side. first person shooter games and mindless misogynist virtual worlds can bring valuable time from other worldly pursuits like
pursuing literacy and math medic abilities. we can turn the situation around starting today if we study the history of a new form of public media. i want to take you on that short history and talk about a few of those lessons. lesson one, education and popular success can mix. it has become an educational model. this requires animation, and celebrities, pop culture relevance. it is built on an underappreciated preface that media can be powerful and an intentional tool. we have stayed true to our cause with strict licensing standards as we go about these things. we have pledged not to market to
children. listen to is recognizing the value of research and development -- lesson two is recognizing the value of research and development. we stuck to a research plan, and we call this our forty first experimental season. we study the key learning demand s on pre-schoolers to teach us how to appraoch tough-to- teach topics. we have talked on social relations. we'll talk about a hundred and 20 countries involved in it -- these are amazing projects.
it is having an hiv positive muppet in south america to deal with the children that are stigmatized by their fellow children. this is a way of teaching kids through will modeling and television that you can be friends with someone and play with them, not necessarily get sick. it breaks the culture of silence around aids in a country like south africa. we have been working with palestinians. that to do a press conference with the palestinian prime minister in november. he opened up a new studio for our palestinian version of the show in which we're promoting role models for young boys, so they have all models other than rock-throwing older kids. they can become a teacher, a doctor, or other role models to
look up to. in egypt, a focus on girls' education or the female population is largely illiterate. they have become a children's store in egypt. they will tell you. there of 150 million children under the age of 6, think about that. these kids are now being able to benefit from teh hindi show produced in delhi. these are local puppeteers, local educators, local musicians, local educators. it has had a huge effect on these populations. it is supported by a the u.s.
agency -- able to leverage private sector support. in south africa, we were able to bring in insurance companies, fully fudnign the -- funding the project. the third lesson is used during -- using a culturally iconic appeal. as media has gotten much more competitive, we have had to really target populations. we tackled childhood obesity. we made cookie monster a roel model, -- role model. cookies are sometimes food. we were joked about on "saturday night live." people have said, what have you
done the cookie monster? he is the veggie monster. he still loves cookies. but there is a mom in silver spring that can have a conversation with her child that even cook a monster doesn't keep cookies all the time. -- eat cookies all the time. you can influence children through their heroes. we were able to do some amazing work over economic insecurity. what do you tell your kids when you lose your job? or when you have to move in with grandma? we brought for real-life families -- four real-life families. we were able to highlight these families and tools, creating
enormous optimism and an ability to tell people you will be able to get through this. we will spread -- we worked with military families, where we really came into this project trying to do something to the rigid with the families and troops. i got into this issue because i read an article in the new york times that a family of soldiers -- they were being kicked out, and i was so enraged. the staff came together and built an incredible project. it is about talking to your kids, listening to them, and connecting from a distance. it has had enormous impact on military families.
there are several -- you do not hear about them. there has been a new study that came out just a day or so ago talking about older kids from 8- 18 suffering real setbacks in terms of real growth, the largest deployment since world war two. we talk about coming home with an injury, bringing in real soldiers that have had prosthetics. these people were real heroes. they're creating an informal and their family household as well. we are pleased wekaty couric -- that katie couric will host
the third, the grieving process. and as you know, she lost her husband that a young age. -- at a young age. we are so thrilled to have her as part of this. finally, we did a project with the uso tour, dozens of military bases to bring joy and hope to these kids. they get to the difficult times that they're facing. these are examples of how to use the pop culture icons to bring change to target specific populations. media convergence has arrived -- it is the first year where viewers will access sesame street content through other platforms then broadcast television.
sesame street now has a broad digital distribution. we start with pbs. it is an enormous partner, and they have been used supporters of the work for 40 years. we have streamed to hulu, youtube, cell phnes, a -- cell phones, and sesame street's website, all catering to kids between two and six to deal with parents. that is really leading to lesson six, innovate or melt away. they had a great quote. if you don't liek change, you like irrelevance even less.
tv, we have teaken the tv show and looked at it as a block. through a great partnership, we were able to create block of shows that we can cut into three or four pieces. they can watch a new cgi format, elmo's world, and it is hip, new, diffeerent. -- different. our boss is a 4-year-old girl with a remote control. if she switches us off, we are not meeting our mission. the final piece of that is thinking about technology.
my grandmother thought a lot about it as an amazing invention. i never thought about the refrigerator as an amazing invention. it was an appliance. it is an appliance. you look at the blackberry, life on -- iphone, and your daughter looks on it as an appliacne. -- appliance. they will never know a world before cell phones, ipod's, broadband. this is the world they are coming into. more and more parents are putting their under two-year- old's in front of electronic media. it is not a good idea to do.
they move into the parent in world, and whether we like it or not, we're all facing this in general as dumb. -- in generalism. media convergence has arrived, big time. we have to use these applications, the blackberry, the mobile phones as teaching tools. and not simply as empty vessels that really don't add to the nation's value. that is why we are constantly looking ahead. i bet you don't know that last year's sesame street published 120 books and sold over 20 million copies.
we're launching the new e-books program. literacy has been a big focus of what we do. you can visit electronic versions of books -- narrated by grover, others are special flip books. they can use whatever station. there are several trends, and i will close with this. we talked about digital natives. it may be mobile kids. they start at age 3, and
supermarket checkout lines. that is why we created these video broadcast -- podcast and iphone apps. our friends at the department of education tells you it exists -- huge numbers of words that kids -- so-called professional households. let's movies to go -- use these technologies. they can create their own magic on the go. wherever i may be. kids do not understand the concept of spongebob is not on right now. it doesn't make sense. it's always on. we launched our first iphone app, grov'ers nu -- grover's
number app. players help grover catcha nd coun -- catch and count numbers to move the tray. he counts the items with you. we continue to look at other ways, and we work with the department of education and cpb on a cell-phone study where mom's agreed they would take a mobile phone as long as they got a call from maria each day, where she calls and talks about a specific later. within one month, 80% of these children stuck to the program
and learned the alphabet. it is a little crude with nokia's research center. it connects bramah and florida is a facilitator reading a book through videoconference, and we're hoping -- that is another example of what we can do. we're focusing on the neva their kids. there are many big cable networks, but a lack of educational programming other than where pbs is. fourth grade literacy rates are directly tied to high school graduation, the greatest indicator of poverty.
that is why we watched -- launched "the electric company" that features celebrities and others promoting literacy. [unintelligible] our director is here this afternoon. it is challenging the industry in new ways. the google headquarters brought together news corp., netflix, and others to introduce the center prizes for innovation. it is aimed at of entrepreneurs to promote science, technology, engineering, and math programs. it is a public-private partnership with the white
house. what will happen in the next decade? we will see a distinction between formal and informal education as kids demand a new tech savvy learning institution. we need to emerge from traditional school settings that have been stuck for far too long. there is a new model for education that will be revealed next year, we're calling it seseame -- sesame 2.0 to develop a modern preschool of tomorrow, if you will. and just blocks down pennsylvania avenue, leaders are currently debating health care and environment that has all too often neglected the needs of our most precious asset, our children. generations have benefited from a simple elegance social
invention called sesame street that is still progressing in a tough economic environment. we can and we must now innovate for new digital frontiers. if we do not, i fear that our children will not be able to compete or cooperate in the complex global age. through global work, we will continue to use the longest streak in the world to challenge conflicts, promote health outcomes, and address the lack of basic education for some many. i hope you'll join us on that journey. thank you so much. [applause] >> we have all sorts of questions for you. we will start with -- sesame
street has one of the longest records of so-called educational television and dead children? the u. have affirmative research that shows that watching the show or playing the games helps prepare kids for school? >> yes, next question. [laughter] actually, sesame street is the most research program in the history of television, i can assure you. a lot of dissertations have been done. there are a couple of in the studies that have been done from the university of kansas that did a longitudinal study several years ago and which attract kids from preschool the high-school and saw the kids to were exposed to the show on a regular basis and that doing much better and academic performance versus those that did not. there is callous research out there that you can access on the web site and other places you can go will sesame street research -- google sesame street
research. >> what can we expect to see on the show, and can this type of initiative actually change attitudes of students about math and science? >> the answer to the latter is, we think so. we will be able to use the power of the muppets to really promote simple lessons for early math. for instance, looking at shapes. trunnels, rectangles, numbers, measurements, these sorts of things. the next season of sesame street is in production and will be on next year and will focus on the scientific method, believe it or not, experiment, findings, etc. we will be able to focus the
nation on science and math, a program called "math is everywhere." it will be in many states in the mid atlantic especially, focusing on building mass skills. -- math skills. and finally, president obama talked about us as one of the leaders in this, and "the n.y. times" -- we had all of these incredible scientists that have done many things. the only picture leading the science effort for the united states of america was elmo. we take that in pride. >> one of the criticisms of people entering adulthood is that they have a sense of
entitlement. they say this comes from the "everyone is a winner" message of sesame street. you think they are inaccurate or displaced -- misplaced? >> you are special. [laughter] >> i think so. >> sesame street i do not think has always just been about that. in fact, unlike most children's programs has been a window into the real world. that is why we have grudges. it is about teaching kids that not everybody is happy every day. you have grudge people in your neighborhood. -- grungy -- grungy -- grouchy people in your neighborhood. we are different, but we're the same. it is a little different than
everybody is special, and everybody is great. we want to build self-esteem to give them confidence to go forward. you need that base in reality, and i think that sesame street is a good reality check. there is a lot about race relations in the early days that were really cutting edge back then. but they were a real picture of what life was like in 1971. don't forget, we should go back and look at some of these things. >> with increased competition from disney, viacom, and other companies looking at the children's market, how do you maintain the brand? >> that is a really good question. there were a couple of preschool shows in 1988. sesame street, and mr. rogers neighborhood. at last check, there were 56
preschool shows on television. 56. six competing networks. how do you stand out? what we have tried to do is to or three things, focusing on targeted families to keep relevance. when we're pushing a program like healthy habits for life and we're working with friends, we have been able to really impact moms that are in a disadvantaged circumstances. that is one way we have stood above the crowd. the second is using a technology, and all the things that discussed, being able to push iphone apps, making sure that we are where the kids are. the third is international.
we have been able to spread internationally and have a profound impact on some of these countries like egypt, bangladesh, south africa, and next year in nigeria, palestine, jordan. you will see billboards of the muppets all over, sponsored by the bank of jordan. that shows you the power of these iconic characters. that is how we have made a difference. >> speaking of international work, how do you ensure brand consistency while thinking globally? >> legally, we maintain the copyright. we all the programs. -- we own the programs. it is important that we don't lose quality or have partners that go way off. do we ever have a partner that
does something that is antithetical to the sesame street mission? the answer is no, because we pretty much vet partners and willing to work with us. -- unwilling to work with us. they get the message of sesame street. we have been able to maintain equality with them, trading the writers, training the puppeteers, bringing them to be york to be trained by our staff so that when they go back, they can create something quite amazing. they have been able to maintain -- i am really proud of the quality. >> you recently announced that after 15 years of having sesame street toys manufactured by mattll -- mattell and fisher
price, you switched to hasbro. why? >> changes good. -- change is good. we are excited and engaging in a new partnership with hasbro. it is a very forward thinking company with a dynamic ceo who has a real vision for bringing it to children's lives. we're hoping we can expand the sesame street toy, and board games like monopoly and the other board games. that is experienced throughout the year. it is focused -- less focus on the fourth quarter and more focused on the year-round business that we can see out
there. i would say, because his question does always come out, why do we need support from different agencies to do things. other big partners of ours, it really goes to pay for the royalties we get. we do not manage these businesses. they pay for the research and production that we are able to really presented pbs -- present to pbs and other partners at a fraction of the cost it would otherwise be. we're really an example of the public-private partnership. having grown up as a 10-year partner growing forward is the real foundation for growth for the next decade.
>> are you risking confusing customers with a new brand? >> no. you know, there will be elmo, cookie monster, the muppets -- the brand isn't changing, just the folksw e -- folks we partner with. we get about 2/3 of our in come from so-called entrepreneurial activities. these include books, home videos, international program distribution. it is not all about toys. but we are able to generate about 2/3 of our annual budget, which gives us a solid foundation of resources.
things like military families in the next season of sesame street. >> deal expect consumers will notice any changes in the toys? -- do you expects consumers will notice any changes in the toys? >> is mattell in the room? [laughter] i am a big fan of a lot of the folks there. it was not so much about them as it was a new vision for partnership. i hope that you will see an innovation in educational toys which is something that we will get a little more into as we explore partnerships with hasbro going forward t push -- to push the limits of toy activity and play.
>> how will you ensure that items from hasbro meet or exceed toy safety standards? >> we have very strict guidelines are around toy safety. those things that happened a couple of years ago, where the first ones on capitol hill testifying on cracking down on lead and other poisons that were found in some of the chinese factories. hasbro has been a leader in this, and we have served on a toy industry panel. this mixture our toys are safe and appropriate going forward. and that worker conditions and factories are appropriate as well. that is part of what we put into our contracts. sometimes contrast it violated. not often.
if they are violated, they will lose the rights to the franchise. >> last hasbro question. does it extend to their children's tv network? >> no. >> good, ok. dora the explorer has been tweaked to appeal the kids older than her target audience. does sesame street ever tried to appeal the older kids? >> college students. [laughter] hey. i dare anyone to not find soembody -- somebody wearing an elmo t-shirt. that shows you the power across generations that this franchise has unlike a lot of other children's programs that we won't mention.
we think that sesame street is kind of and that the sweet spot, really two-five year olds. their tastes are getting more sophisticated a younger ages because they are exposed to so much more content at a younger age. we are seeing the show skewing a bit younger than it did originally, but there are a lot of four and five year-old singing aloud -- year olds hanging around. the average visit time is 25 minutes on our web site. that is a long time. everyone is coming on for five minutes, staying for 50. internationally, it is a little older, 4-7 year olds. and a lot of adults watch the show internationally as well.
>> speaking of adults, as anyone thinking of starting ac sesame street for adults that can't keep up with new technology? >> jim henson did an office management program hosted by john cleese, which was one of the funniest things i had ever seen. we believe that the show is actually built for adults. i would challenge those of you that are up at 7:00 in the morning to tune in to sesame street, and i think he will have a great time watching this. seeing adam sandler, feist, all of these great artists that come ont ht eh show -- on the show. nora jones was singing, they
don't know these -- kids don't know these people. they also criticized dan rather not, walter cranky, diane sour, and pox news. it became a thing. we got blogs and letters. we went on bill o'reilly's show. he did a great job, and bill was good about the whole thing. >> how do we get grover comeback? >> maybe he is somewhere. >> asked rover a question.
>> do you feel 40? >> let me see. gary, can you touch my back? does that feel 42 you? -- forty to you? i am older than a breadbox, but young enough to live at home with my mommy. >> ok. sara price who is five wants to know how long it will be on tv. >> we plan to be around for another 40 years. >> that is good year. -- tohear. -- to hear. >> were you worried? >> not at all, but it is nice to hear from the big cheese himself.
keep me employed, i will keep going to the gym. >> one of your fans wants to know how much food as cookie monster eat? >> it is not just to heat. -- food he eats. he doesn't eat cookies just a -- just eat cookies anymore. he eats everything. >> he ate the lifetime achievement emmy on prime-time television. >> quite costly, too. it came out of his paycheck. >> are all the characters monsters? >> no, no, no. sesame street has lots of different monsters and people and creatures. i am a monster, yes.
>> how can you tell. >> monsters are for real over -- furry all over. robin williams was mistaken for a monster when he came on the show. [laughter] >> bert and ernie were the original breakout stars. now it has been elmo, elmo, elmo. >> tell me about it. >> when will people finally recognize the true genius of grover? dodge thank you for that question. maybe starting today. >> you had a visit from first lady michelle obama? what were your impressions of her? >> she is a lovely lady. and very tall. i think even big bird had to look up to her. >> she did say that that was the
coolest thing they had done since they moved into the white house. >> would you think the politicians here in washington can learn from sesame street? [applause] -- [laughter] >> that is all the questions i have time for today. thank you very much. goodbye, everybody. [applause] >> we are actually almost out of time. he has excellent timing. let me remind members of our future speakers. on december 14, karen mills, the administrator of the u.s. small business administration will discuss their efforts to boost the small business sector to drive economic recovery. she will not be bringing any for a monsters that we know of. on december 15, the hon. the army, chairman of freedom works
will discuss the future of the republican party and the need to return to their roots of fiscal conservatism. on december 21, francis collins in the, the director of the nih will discuss medical research and new horizons for human health. i like to present both of our guests with a traditional and must coveted npc mug. [applause] >> grover, did you get this? >> he does not seem to havethu thumbs, so i will give this to you. i have two for you. how often do you get upstaged by bob betz, and who is your favorite muppet? >> the answer is often, and grover.
>> good answer. >> thank you. i have been abused by moppets around the world. it is a wonderful job, and i hope we can continue to work with great colleagues to do great things for kids. [applause] >> i would like to thank all of you for coming today, especially the young folks an audience that gave us such terrific questions for grover. i like to thank the staff members, melinda cook, pat nelson, and joanne for organizing the luncheon. the video archive is provided by the national press club's broadcast operations center. we are available for download onitunes and our -- 9oon itunes and our